The pandemic is demanding all kinds of change, and change is what designers do best. Through integrated design, we can be both proactive and empathetic as we help our clients navigate their future, finding the balance between human need and financial viability that allows us all to thrive.

Industries leading the change

Healthcare, travel and hospitality, workspaces, public entertainment and retail are among the most immediately impacted by COVID-19. They have something in common: the intersection of people with the physical world. Designing for these industries allows us to address their specific challenges while also considering broader business and societal needs.

How to manage now

Six experience principles

From our experience in these industries and our understanding of the current situation, we formed six Experience Principles. Solving these principles delivers both immediate and long-lasting solutions for people and the businesses that serve them. We have mapped out the key considerations and options available for different industries so that they can survive now and thrive in the future.

The six experience principles:

  1. Normalize touch-free interactions
  2. Enable and facilitate social distancing
  3. Integrate virtual and physical worlds
  4. Reduce friction and lower human density
  5. Empower through smarter devices
  6. Welcome robots with open arms

Think fast for now

For now, the key focus should be on quick, tactical responses that solve immediate threats, that protect people and businesses, and that meet their short-term needs in practical ways. “Perfection is the enemy of the good,” is an adage worth remembering for these measures.

Shopping and stores will once again be centers of social activity. Integrated product, digital, and spatial design solutions will enable new forms of social and emotional connection as we navigate spatial distance.

What's on the horizon

Deliberate for what comes next

Strategic responses that help businesses navigate for the long view. Even if COVID-19 is eradicated, our current global systems leave us vulnerable for future pandemics. Businesses will need new operating models that can flex based on future potential threats. New procedures, products, and services will be put into place, and will become the never normal.

How will we make physical interactions such as payments unnecessary? How might our devices help us maintain social distancing? How can we create solutions that are protective, instinctive and accessible for everyone? How can we learn from excellent thinking in one industry and translate it to others?

This pandemic has forced the design world to pause and honestly reassess the long-term impacts of our actions. Considering the next tier of needs allows us to focus our work in areas that provide the most immediate effect for a safer, more equitable future for us all.

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